Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Cheney Blames Faulty Intellegence
CHENEY SAYS SHOOTING OF FELLOW HUNTER WAS BASED ON FAULTY INTELLIGENCEBelieved Shooting Victim Was Zawahiri, Veep SaysVice President Dick Cheney revealed today that he shot a fellow hunter while on a quail hunting trip over the weekend because he believed the man was the fugitive terror mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri. Mr. Cheney acknowledged that the man he sprayed with pellets on Saturday was not al-Zawahiri but rather Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old millionaire lawyer from Austin, blaming the mix-up on "faulty intelligence." "I believed I had credible intelligence that al-Zawahiri had infiltrated my hunting party in disguise with the intent of spraying me with pellets," Mr. Cheney told reporters. "Only after I shot Harry in the face and he shouted 'Cheney, you bastard' did I realize that this intelligence was faulty." Moments after Mr. Cheney's assault on Mr. Whittington, Mr. al-Zawahiri appeared in a new videotape broadcast on al-Jazeera to announce that he was uninjured in the vice president's attack because, in his words, "I was in Pakistan." An aide to the vice president said he believed that the American people would believe Mr. Cheney's version of events, but added, "If he was going to shoot any of his cronies right now it's a shame it wasn't Jack Abramoff." At the White House, President George W. Bush defended his vice president's shooting of a fellow hunter, saying that the attack sent "a strong message to terrorists everywhere." "The message is, if Dick Cheney is willing to shoot an innocent American citizen at point-blank range, imagine what he'll do to you," Mr. Bush said. Elsewhere, aviator Steve Fossett completed his three-day journey around the globe, setting a world record for wasting both time and money.